By P.T. Bopanna
The plans of the Modi government to set up a mini airport near Kushalanagar in Kodagu (Coorg) district of Karnataka is a half-baked idea as the land identified for the airstrip was reportedly submerged in last year’s floods.
The government has identified about 50 acres of land belonging to agriculture department situated behind Sainik School in Kudige, Somwarpet taluk, for the proposed airport.
According to reports, the land was submerged last year when more than one lakh cusecs of Cauvery water was released from Harangi reservoir.
Going by the way landslides and floods have occurred in the last two years, it would be nothing but foolishness to allow the airport to come up in the flood-prone area.
Reports say the Airports Authority India which is the implementing agency of the Regional Connectivity Scheme, has invited bids to operate 20-seater planes and work will commence in the next six months.
Madikeri MLA M P Appachu Ranjan had mooted the idea of an airport at Kudige when he was a minister in 2012. Subsequently, the Siddaramaiah government had announced plans in the 2017 budget for an airport in Kodagu.
When the need of the hour is a good network of roads in Kodagu, the governments are coming out with projects which are not required in the flood-prone district. The roads in Kodagu ravaged by floods in the last two years have not yet been repaired. This is nothing but criminal negligence on the part of government agencies.
The newly come up Mattanur airport in Kerala could easily cater to the requirements of Kodagu. Besides, there is already a functioning airport at Mysuru.
Any move to set up an airport in Kodagu is a recipe for an environmental disaster. Prime Minister Modi should immediately intervene and shelve the airport project.